Monday, June 30, 2008

I got friends in diff'rent places...

I love my girlfriends. I do. They mean the world to me. They have been there for me in the greatest ways possible, especially lately. I can call them and they will drop everything to listen to me vent or cry and not act like, "Again?" They know me and give me great, honest advice.

The thing is, I'm at a different place in my life than most of my friends. I'm 30 (basically), single, and a free spirit. Most of them are 30ish, married, with kids (or thinking about having them). I'm not there. And there's nothing wrong with their lives, like there's nothing wrong with my life....but it makes hanging out with them difficult. Sure, I'm positive most of this comes from my selfishness and quite possibly jealousy of the fact that they have a stable relationship. But, I want my friend, not their husband or their kid. I love that they are married and have a kid and that it makes them happy. I love their kids. I really do. But when I'm not a mom and I hang out with my friend in mom mode, it's hard. Really hard. And I hate that I'm so selfish about this.

The thing is, this doesn't change how much I love them and how close I can be and still am in one-on-one situations. But I feel so out of place. And it's not the, "sigh, I wish I had their life," out of place. It's the, "sigh, when do I get just my friend," out of place. It's so selfish. And I'm kinda ashamed of that.

And then I think, is it weird that they are all there and I'm so not? I mean, sure, I just got out of a potentially lifelong relationship and all of those marriage and family things were fluttering through my head for the last 2 years. But the kids part was never something that I felt like I had to have at that moment. Maybe it was the relationship's circumstances, maybe it wasn't. But now that I'm out of it, I still feel like kids are not in my nearby future. I'm not ready to give up my life for a kid. Another selfish comment, sure. But an honest one. I want to have kids one day. I'm not sure when, but I do see myself having a family. But not now. So when I hang out with my friends and their families, it's oftentimes uncomfortable. Not all the time, just some of the time.

It's difficult. It's difficult to be where I am in my life and not have others that are in the same place to share it with. It's frustrating and many times lonely. This whole growing up thing kinda sucks sometimes.

post signature

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Is sex our right as humans?

I had a discussion yesterday with someone about people having sex with no strings attached, purely sex for sex's sake. I know people that do it, but I find it hard to believe that it can happen without emotional attachment from at least one person. Or if there's not attachment, how can at least one person not feel bad about it in the end? It seems an empty, devaluing experience.

I obviously say this from experience. I've tried the "friends with benefits" and the "one night stand." And, for me, it doesn't leave a great taste in my mouth (no pun intended). It's left me more lonely and ashamed the next day. I was left feeling disgusted with myself. Disgusted that I shared my body with someone without knowing that their emotions for me were deep enough to appreciate it.

The discussion was intended to enlighten me on the value of sex for pure pleasure; an answer to relieve a drought, if you will. But I couldn't wrap my head around the idea. I believe that if I had sex with someone just for sex's sake, I would feel worse than before. Do I feel this way because I go into it feeling that it's devaluing?

Am I the only one that thinks this?

post signature

Monday, June 23, 2008

My big fat Greek experience

Yesterday was therapy. And once again, I went in feeling angry and sad and hurt. Yadda yadda yadda. Quite frankly, I'm tired of it all. I'm tired of feeling it. I'm tired of talking about it. I'm tired. So we started out, once again, with me crying and him saying, "Why can't you just feel the anger and take it for what it's worth? You realize all of these feelings are normal..." Well, yeah, but this is me. The perfectionist. This isn't normal. This is two steps back and all I want to be doin is movin forward. None of this backward shit. No siree. Not me. I don't work that way.

So then we start talking about how I felt independent on my little trip to Texas (more on that later). It was the first time that I not only made my own flight arrangements, but also got on an airplane and flew by myself. Yes, I know it sounds menial to some. But if you knew me and you knew how much I hate flying, you'd know that flying by myself is something that I probably shouldn't do. Ask those that I've traveled with. I've once taken a Xanax to calm myself before a flight. Yes, it's that bad. Anyway, we start talking about how empowered I felt doing this and how the book (yesterday's post) inspired me to travel somewhere and how I've actually asked a friend to travel with me to Greece this summer because I've recently become so inspired. All I want to do is travel. What makes me happy? Traveling. I. Love. It. I want to see the world. Ever since I had to take two art history classes in my uppergrad studies (I was 20 or 21), I've wanted to explore the architecture of the past. I want to see different cultures and history and get out of my California (though I do love it) bubble. I need to. I yearn for it.

And then he says it. He nails it on the head. He brings me to almost sobs. He says, "Maybe the reason you're so hurt and angry is because you feel like he robbed you of the experience." Oh. My. God. He couldn't have been more on target. I am pissed and hurt because my ex not only planned a trip with me, broke up with me, and then proceeded to take this trip that we planned without me... he also left me at home, with my dreams of traveling and seeing the world crushed. And he's there. He's living my dreams. Right now. At this very moment. Fuck. Him. So as I'm trying my darndest not to all-out sob in his office, he says, "So the question is, are you going to let him rob you of this experience?"

I let out an almost immediate, "No!" And then my thoughts started to wander to making a big trip. Just days before, I had an impulse to go somewhere this summer, somewhere out of the country. I texted my roommate about going with me and she couldn't do it. I had, the day before, asked another friend to take a trip with me this summer. She's still working on seeing if it's a possibility. So I said to him, "I'm trying to. But none of my friends can do this with me."

So he proceeded to challenge my thoughts about traveling alone. I mean, not alone as in, I step out of the airport and tell the taxi driver to take me wherever. I mean, joining a tour group when I get there but taking the trip by myself. What am I afraid of? Not being able to handle a tough situation on my own. Not sharing the amazing moments with someone. Not making friends on the trip and experiencing it alone. By myself. I said to him, "When I'm standing in front of the Parthenon and I'm in tears because it's a dream that's finally being realized and I look around me, who's there to share it with? Who's there to experience this amazingness with me?" And he says, "Why can't you just enjoy it? Why can't you bask in the amazingness by yourself?" Ha. Jerk. Of course he said this. So, I think, why not? "Because I need someone else to tell me that what I'm seeing is in fact amazing." Hello validation! Shit. Ok, he's got me.

And then it was like this bright, shining light opened up from the clouds above. It was as if everything that has happened in the last 2 months all rushed to me at once. THIS IS THE ANSWER!!! THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN SEARCHING FOR! All things pointed in the direction of that very moment. I. Must. Travel. And not just go whenever and with whomever. Go with myself. Holy shit. I was scared shitless and excited all at the same time. I could do this. I could actually get on a plane and travel out of this country by myself. And I think I will.

As soon as I got home, I got on the computer and researched some options. I decided on Rome to Athens in 11 days. Thank you Contiki. I would get to see ALL of the things that began this dream of mine. The Sistine Chapel. The Vatican. The Colosseum. The Forum. Pompei. The Parthenon. The Acopolis. No shit. So guess where I'm going THIS August?

That's right bitches.

post signature

A few short passages from a good book

I just finished reading "How to Be Single" by Liz Tuccillo (loved it). It's about a girl and her 4 friends that are in their 30s and are still single in Manhattan. The main character is frustrated with the question, "Why are you still single? You're so pretty and seem smart, etc., etc., etc...." She travels the world to find different perspectives on women being single. It's very Sex and the City (Tuccillo was actually an executive story editor on the show and also a coauthor of "He's Just Not That Into You") meets "Eat, Pray, Love." Anyway, loved the story and found a few passages that stuck out as I read it.

1. Let me just get this out of the way as quickly as I can. I'm a woman living in a large city in America who watches television and goes to the movies, so, yes, I hate my body. I know how politically incorrect, cliched, unfeminist, and tired that is. But I can't help it. I know I'm not fat, I am a respectable size six, but if I dig just a tiny bit, I have to admit to myself that I am absolutely sure the reason I don't have a boyfriend is because of my cellulite and my huge thighs. Women are crazy, let's move on.
(I hear ya sista!)

2. They began eating, but everything was different. For one thing, Sam was now really looking at her. Women spend so much time wondering how the men they're with feel about them; they'll analyze emails, replay phone messages. But the simple fact is that all you have to do is watch how he looks at you. If he looks at you as if he doesn't want to take his eyes off of you for fear that you might disappear, then you are with a man who really likes you.
(I love this passage, because it hit me that I've recently been looked at this way. And it wasn't with the ex. Sad, I know. But hopeful for new relationships.)

3. (She was in India at this point in the story. She was in the house of a new friend whose parents were setting the Indian girl up with men for an arranged marriage.) I couldn't help but marvel at the speed of all of this. In New York, if you like the guy a lot - you go on a second date. Here, you plan the engagement ceremony. But if you consider how truly miraculous it is to meet anyone you want to go on a second date with, maybe they have the right idea. Maybe wanting to go on a second date with someone is proof that you might as well just get engaged, give it a shot, and nail that shit down.
(I especially liked the way she finished this thought. I am in no way saying that an arranged marriage is what my answer is, I'm just saying I thought this was interesting.)

4. (This is her friend Alice, who was a serial dater but eventually settled with a guy that she wasn't madly in love with, but he treated her well, and adored her. She was about to leave for Iceland to marry this guy.) The love of her life, the love of her life. As Alice took a shower she realized it came down once again to one thing: What did she believe in? In other words, what kind of life did she want to live? Did she really think the love of her life was out there? Did she think it was wise to go back into the wilds of being single just in the hopes of finding him? What was she holding out for? As she toweled herself off, she realized that she didn't want to be the girl who refused to settle. She didn't want to be the girl who believed that life is short and its better to be single and looking for "the love of your life" than to just give up and settle. She didn't want to be that girl. She thought that girl was stupid. Naive. Alice liked being practical; she was a lawyer, so she preferred to be realistic. Waiting and searching for the love of your life was exhausting. It might even be delusional. Again, yes, she knew that some people win the love lottery and get to fall in love with someone who is also mad about them, and their life together is harmonious and filled with love. But she didn't want to be the girl who stubbornly held out for what might never come.
(I find this passage interesting because she knew all along that she was settling for someone that she loved, but wasn't the love of her life. I realize that many people do this. People settle to just be married. But I'm that girl that won't settle. I'm looking for the love of my life. And I used to think that it wasn't possible to find that person. But now I hold onto hope that I will.
What's interesting is that Alice ended up calling off the wedding two paragraphs later.)

5. (She spent the entire book searching for the answer to, How to Be Single. She never wanted to accept the "just love yourself" answer. She was bitter in every sense of the word each time she heard that answer. But in the end, this was her conclusion.) One thought kept creeping into my head - but I kept pushing it away. On the dance floor, with the music going and me feeling just the carefree abandon of being out with a bunch of my girlfriends, I was mortified even to think of it. But I did feel it. I'm horrified to even type the words out now. But it hit me, hard - I am so loathe to admit it. Shit. Godamn it.
I think we are going to have to love ourselves. Fuck.
I know. I know. But at least let me just say, I don't mean we have to "love ourselves" in a take-a-bubble-bath-every-night kind of way. Not "love yourself" like "take yourself to dinner once a week." I think we have to love ourselves fiercely. Like a lioness protecting her cub. Like we are about to be attacked at any moment by a marauding gang of thugs who are out to make us feel bad about ourselves. I think we have to love ourselves as passionately as the Romans love, with joy and enthusiasm and entitlement. I think we have to love ourselves with the pride and dignity of any French woman. We have to love ourselves as if we are seventy-year-old Brazilian women dressed in all red and white parading around the middle of the block party. Or as if we just got hit with a beer can in our face and we have to come to our own rescue. We have to aggressively love ourselves. We practically have to stalk ourselves, that's how much energy we need to put into this. We really do have to discover our inner Viking and wear our shining armor and love ourselves as bravely as we ever thought possible. So, yes, I guess we fucking do have to love ourselves. I'm sorry.
(I loved the way this was shamelessly written. All the examples she gave were part of the journey she went on and the women she met throughout the world. Great tie ins and great answer.)

This book was great and inspiring. I'd put it up there on my top ten list. It fit into my life perfectly at this moment. I love when books can do that.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Graduation day

I graduated! I graduated! Starting in July, I get to go to therapy every other week. Yesssss. I said to him, "So I graduated?" And he laughed and said, "Yes, you have." And then he complimented me on my progress in the last 8 weeks. Wow. Eight weeks. I can't believe I've been working on this for eight weeks. And holy crap, I've made so much progress. Looking back at who I was (and who I'll never be again), to who I am now... I gotta say, I have learned so much about myself.

I addressed the anger issue with him today. I told him how I've been hella angry for the past week and I couldn't figure out why (well, besides the Europe thing coming up) and it was frustrating me because I felt like I was taking 2 steps back. And he basically told me that I was thinking too hard about it (I told him that was his fault). He wants me to feel angry and not feel like I have to scratch into why because it's probably not much more that the Europe thing. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I've been so used to dissecting my emotions lately that I was trying too hard this time around. Sounds like something I would do. Making something more difficult than it had to be.

So now I'm going to learn how not to analyze feelings. Funny that that's a lesson I needed to learn. Just feel the emotion and move on. Don't sit on it for too long. Allow myself to be angry and then cut it off at a certain point. Sounds easy enough. So we'll see.

I leave for Texas on Wednesday to visit one of my BFFs. Originally, it was for me to be away and not alone during the leave for Europe. But now, I'm excited to go and be away. And I can't wait to see her new little baby bump. It needs to meet me and hear my voice so that I don't frighten it when it finally comes out.

I have to give myself a pat on the back for the moment I'm living right now. I'm excited to see what the future holds for me.

post signature

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Grandpa + Grandma = 60 years

I just spent the day with my family, celebrating my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. Holy crap. I'm not sure I can even wrap my head around that. Sixty years. And it was cute because we went to a mass with them and they got called up by the priest to be blessed or prayed for or something, and my grandpa stepped out of the aisle and let my grandma out. He didn't take off, he waited and then allowed her to walk ahead of him. I don't know, maybe it was a small gesture to others, but I thought it was sweet that after all these years, he still cares to make sure she is ok.

Taking a step back today, I realized that all of the kids (my dad, plus 4 brothers and 1 sister) have great families and long-lasting marriages. It's like they lead us all (and continue to lead us all) by example. Sure, the family's had it's fair share of highs and lows, but no family is perfect. And even the two grandkids that are married (my brother and my cousin) have great marriages and great families.

So here's to my grandparents, who have 60 years of marriage that one can only aspire for. May they have at least 20 more years together.

post signature

Friday, June 13, 2008

Here's to the ladies

I'm really fortunate to work with a bunch of girls that I love. When I started my job, there were a lot of older women at my school. And that's cool, because it allowed me to focus on learning how to become a better teacher. But in the last 5 years, we've had a lot of younger additions to our staff. And seriously, I couldn't love my job more. I'm actually going to miss them this summer. Hopefully, we'll still have girls outings like the one we had last night. Not only are these girls fun, they are thoughtful. All of them were there for me when I was going through the breakup and they continue to be there for me. So thanks ladies. I love you all...

post signature

Sunday, June 8, 2008

And now... a random, messy post full of raw emotions

Shit. I'm bothered again. Angered, if you will. I was sitting by the pool, trying to enjoy a new book (which needs to do a better job of entertaining me, by the way), enjoying some music and my thoughts drifted to him. Again. I, personally, blame it on the book for not keeping my thoughts focused. And then a funny thing started happening. The music on shuffle kept spitting out dark, ominous tunes. One after another. And my stomach started churning. And my heart began weighing (not waying) heavy. And I was being taken away. Six weeks later, I was being taken away. Damn.

So I tried to examine these emotions I was feeling. What was I feeling and why was I feeling this way. Anger. Obvious. Why? Europe. Again? Eleven days away. Without me. Why? How could he? Why would he? Why would I have wanted to? I would have been vying for his attention the entire time. I wouldn't have totally enjoyed the experience like I dream of. But why does he get to? And why does this bother me so freaking much? Why does it hurt? Because he's going to live his life without me? It was supposed to be a huge step for the two of us. Three weeks together. He once said that it would tell a lot about us and let him know if living together was something that was going to be feasible for him. Maybe he didn't use the word feasible, who knows. But then I step into today and I don't care about losing him. Well, I do, don't get me wrong. But I don't want him back. So why does this trip without me grind into me? I can't put my finger on it and it's driving me crazy.

On another note, there's someone new in my life. (Please be prepared to read some random, unorganized thoughts that may or may not make sense. But I have to just type what I feel, as I feel.) Someone who is amazing, to say the least. If amazing were 10 on a spectrum of 1-10, he's actually more than that. He challenges me. And not in a bad way. He challenges my thoughts, my vocabulary, my emotions, my being. I feel that importance and smartness and deepness and excitedness that I should to feel when I talk to him. But it's too soon. Too soon for me to feel for someone else. And I know that because I get weird when I'm actually around him. I pull away or I don't give anything at all. Which is so not me. And I can't help but wonder if I'll ever feel ok to feel ok again. Will it ever be ok for me to feel for someone else? It scares me. Because I like this guy. I like him a lot. But I'm afraid I'm going to take too long to figure this out. Or when I do, those feelings will be gone. And part of me is like, whatever's meant to happen, will happen and I can't rush it. Nor will I rush it. I'm tired of rushing it. I'm tired of being skeptical, but doing it anyway. Taking a risk, all in the name of sloppy, romantic love. It hasn't worked for me. It works at first, and then I get comfortable and lose myself...and here I stand. Not this time. My defenses are so up and that's not me either. Never has been. I always dive in head first. But it's like I don't even have control of how I'm acting. It's just happening. Which has to count for something. Something larger than me is holding me back, not allowing me to jump head first. And I'm letting it. I'm ok with it. But there's someone else involved in all of this and I worry about the effect that it has (or might have) on him. Like I'm going through all of this, and I can't help the things that I'm doing, because I feel like someone/thing else is doing it for me, but he's the one that may or may not get run over in the process. But he knows this. I think. Does he know this? Shit. I think he knows this.

I feel like this moment in my life is one of those moments that is life changing. Like I'll look back on my life in 5 years and realize that what I'm going through and have been going through in all of this breakup mess is one of those moments. Like when you realize that you're an adult. The moment or moments that make you. And I feel like I have to let whomever/whatever is leading me in this take charge. It's really out of my control right now. I'm doing the actions but the thoughts and drive behind them are are out my control.

I'm confident that all will turn out the way it is supposed to. I just have to be. To exist in this moment.

post signature

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I was ruh-nin....

I can't believe I just ran 4 miles. Today's training was (well, obviously) 4 miles. I remember when running 1 mile was the worst thing in the world for me. I couldn't breathe, it hurt...I always managed to talk myself out of it. But now I can run and run and run.... and not run out of breath. The first mile is always the worst in breathing for me, it's like I have to wait for my breath to catch up with me and then it just becomes easy. The thing that I'm realizing is most difficult is the other stuff. Like the body parts and the blisters are the worst. I have parts that I never thought would hurt me. I was told old injuries would come back, but the places and muscles that hurt are not old injuries. Gotta figure out a way to either stretch them or get them fixed.

And this whole no iPod thing isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Although i enjoy the music, I don't need it. I managed the 4 miles today being alone with my thoughts. And really, it's not as scary as I thought it would be. I kinda prefer it. I can hear my breathing and I can talk myself into finishing. It's working for me.

I never realized I could make it this far. I keep looking at what I still need to do (13.1 miles) and it scares me but if I can do 4 miles after thinking 1 mile was the worst, I can do 13.1 miles.

post signature

Monday, June 2, 2008

Watch as this blog illuminates

Reflection is a wonderful thing. Please enjoy while I partake in it...

Therapy, therapy, therapy. So many things I'm a'learnin. Let me count the realizations (and sub-realizations) that went off in my head today.

Realization #1:
My relationship with my mom isn't as healthy as I thought it was, ok maybe that I had hoped it was. I've always somehow needed her validation for EVERYTHING that I do. Well, maybe just the big decisions, but still, I always feel like I need to hear her say it's good or bad before I can decide if it's good or bad. Not healthy, I know. Tryin to quit, I promise. Not been successful... imagine that.

Why the need for validation, you ask? Because I've never really received it. I've always been told what I've done wrong in a situation (namely, relationships) and never given credit for what I've done right. I guess the stuff that I've done right has just always been expected (or at least that's the way I feel). So when I do the right things, it's like, "Well, duh, that's what you were supposed to do." Like I was supposed to be smart and I was supposed to get my Bachelors, Teaching Credential, and Masters. And I was supposed to be successful in my career. And I was supposed to turn out independent and such.

I remember reflecting with her on this breakup and her talking about all the things I should have seen or should have known. But I never got credit for the things I did see and fought for and stood by. It was as though every decision I made was bad and none of the good ones I made were recognized. No wonder it's difficult for me to accept compliments. I'm not used to hearing them and don't really think people mean it when they give them to me because the most important person in my life can't even give them to me. (That was actually a realization I made just now. Feel important, you were just witnessing history being made.)

Realization number 2:
When events happen in my life (read: breakups), I'm not allowed to be sad. I'm always told to snap out of it and deal. Sounds harsh, I know, but there's a reason. My mom grew up in a family where her sister was suicidal and her brother was, well for lack of a better word, a screw-up. So when she sees someone getting sad, she automatically associates that with her sister and thinks that it's going to turn into that person becoming depressed and possibly suicidal. So instead of allowing anyone to feel that way, she tells them to snap out of it before it gets out of control.

Can you imagine how many freaking light bulbs went off in my head when I heard this? No wonder I feel uncomfortable when people get sad (friends, students, family members). I don't know how it feels to be sad (and be ok with it), so how can I empathize? No wonder I'm afraid to break up with someone. I'm afraid of feeling the deep pain I know I'll feel. And I don't know how to not feel guilty for feeling that way. (Another realization I made right now. You're so lucky.) Holy crap.

So I guess I need to learn how to be sad and be ok with it. And I guess, well.. I don't know how to really deal with the first realization. I don't know how to make that one better. Besides either telling my mom to be proud of me or not caring. And we all know the second one ain't happenin.

I'm exhausted. Literally. I feel like I should reflect more but I'm just so drained right now. If I come up with more, I'll add it. But for now, I think I'll nap. Or eat. Mmmm... food sounds good....

post signature